The veteran star reveals 16-year-old Zeus passed away on Friday (18Dec15) at her Shambala Preserve in Acton, California, 13 years after he was brought to live at the big cat sanctuary.

"Shambala's magnificent, cherished Lion King, Zeus, left us in body, forever," Hedren writes in her newsletter. "His life had been taken too soon, ravaged by a cancer that could not be controlled by us mortals..."

She goes on to remember Zeus as the real "Lion King", claiming he was "physically the perfect lion".

"Zeus will be greatly missed by all of us...," she continues. "We will all miss the sight of him, his magnificent ROAR, from which I would awaken during the night with a very special feeling of joy to realize how fortunate I have been to know the beings on the Shambala Preserve, and to be able to recognize the Roar of Zeus.

"When Christmas approaches next year, on December 18, 2016 we will all be thinking of that day, that day our magnificent Lion King went away forever, in body only, because his Spirit will be with all of us, forever!!!

"To you, our magnificent Lion, Zeus!!!!! Thank you, from all of your admirers for these amazing memories. You are so beloved that you will live in our hearts forever.... Long Live Zeus!!!!!... Shambala's Lion King!!!!!"